A healthcare worker outside the emergency center at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, April 13, 2020 (Reuters)
The Trump Administration proclaims, “The world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19,” as the US death toll reaches 130,285 and confirmed cases near 3 million.
Cases increased by 47,442 on Monday, for a total of 2,936,077. Infections are rising in 46 of 50 states, with Texas, Washington State, and Idaho setting new daily records yesterday. The surge is more than 70%, over the past two weeks, in 20 states.
The rate of positive tests has soared to more than 20% in some areas of Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Some states are facing “overwhelmed” hospitals and a shortage of beds in intensive care units. Leaders said the Federal Emergency Management Administration is withholding tests, as people wait for several hours to be checked.
In New Orleans, people queued from dawn, but many were turned away when the site ran out of tests five minutes after doors opened at 8 am. In Phoenix, Arizona, with temperatures above 100 degrees, residents sat in cars for up to eight hours.
The White House’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in a webcast for the National Institutes of Health that is still “knee-deep in the first wave” of Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci said that the more than 50,000 new cases a day recorded several times in the past week were “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.” He was speaking with Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, in a conversation that was streamed on N.I.H.’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
But White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted, “I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19.”
Meanwhile, the Administration prepared to deport international students in fully-online schools and universities in the autumn semester.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced, “Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”
The ICE statement came hours after Harvard University said it will provide online-only instruction this autumn. The university said it will welcome up to 40% of undergraduates on campus, but those students will also take their classes online.
Trump spent his Twitter Monday labeling the pandemic as “China Virus”, tweet-shouting, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL”, and falsely asserting, “The Mortality Rate for the China Virus in the U.S. is just about the LOWEST IN THE WORLD!”
He also again touted the anti-malarial drug hydroxylchloroquine as a wonder cure, five days after the Food and Drug Administration issued a caution against its use outside of hospitals or clinical trials.
Trump supporters are clinging to a single study, from the Henry Ford Foundation, which assessed that hydroxylchloroquine could reduce Covid-19 if administrated soon after infection.
But almost all other studies have found no efficacy, and have confirmed the dangerous side effects of large doses, including potentially-fatal interruptions of heartbeat.
On June 15, the FDA revoked its emergency use authorization of hydroxylchloroquine for hospitalized patients.
Trump’s Culture War Diversions: NASCAR and US Sports
Seeking a diversion and re-election, Donald Trump pushed his “culture war” on Monday, using the arena of American sports.
Trump falsely accused NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace of staging a “HOAX” when a garage pull tied into a noose was found near Wallace’s car last month.
NASCAR officials reported the incident to the FBI, who investigated for any intent of harm. Wallace, who is African American, was only informed hours after the manipulated garage pull was discovered.
Wallace has been vocal in his support of rights and justice over issues raised by anti-racism marches. At a race last month, his car’s livery was all black, with Black Lives Matter stenciled on the sides.
After Trump’s Twitter attack, Wallace wrote:
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) July 6, 2020
NASCAR followed with “#WeStandWithBubba” and the statement:
We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership.
NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.
Trump did not mention the many drivers who have expressed solidarity with the stand against racism, but he denounced NASCAR for its removal of the Confederate flag at race venues.
Press Secretary McEnany ducked the issue with the lie that Trump’s tweet had not taken a stance on the display of the flag.
.@jonkarl: Does Trump think it was a mistake for Nascar to ban the Confederate flag?
KAYLEIGH McENANY: "You're focusing on one word at the very bottom of a tweet. That's completely taking it out of context." pic.twitter.com/NDlgtZyUih
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 6, 2020
Trump, who led the years-long assault on National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his inspiration of “Take A Knee” protests, also tried the distraction of assailing football and baseball teams.
He tweeted, “They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct.”
In 2013, Trump chided Barack Obama, “President should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name — our country has far bigger problems! FOCUS on them,not nonsense.”